Day 3 in Rome: photography now permitted 

Galleria Borghese prohibited photography the last 3 times we went there. But now it’s permitted if without flash.

Left: David with the Head of Goliath; bottom right: Sick Bacchus


Left: St John the Baptist; bottom right: St Jerome


Scipione Borghese, who bought the Villa and built the casino, the building, to house his personal art collection, was an avid art collector but when his uncle became pope, he really went mad. Not only did he buy art but purloined pieces he fancied. He owned 6 Caravaggio paintings. Two were given to him by Caravaggio, two he put the owner in jail on trumped up charges until the paintings were handed over, and two he bought. My photo of the Madonna die Palafreneri somehow is missing and the photo of Boy with a Basket of Fruit, I haven’t posted.

The Sick Bacchus and Boy with a Basket of Fruit are early works in which Caravaggio takes classical themes and updates them, kind of like Shakespeare’s plays set in contemporary society.

The David with the Head of Goliath is likely one of Caravaggio’s work done in the year he died. Many interpret the head of Goliath as a self portrait, Caravaggio seeking to atone for his sins.

Not Caravaggio-related but too exquisite to leave out are Bernini’s sculptures:

We then went to Santa Maria Della Concezione, a church of the Capuchin order, where photography is strictly forbidden. We saw one of a number of versions of St. Francis.  Google the church’s name and ossuary. Very. Creepy.

After lunch, Palazzo Barberini, another formerly no photography place, now allowing photos without flash.  The Barberini was built by 2 nephews of a pope. If you didn’t know, nepotism is Italian for nephew and the origin of the word nepotism in English as the nephews of this era in Papal history received fortunes because of their pope uncles. They went top drawer and had the three top architects design their palace: Maderno, Bernini and Borromini.

Borromini staircase above. I had not seen it before and it’s obviously getting some restoration, and probably not open to the public, but the door was open so I popped in for a quick photo.

St Francis in Meditation

The St Francis in the Barberini is the original and the Santa Maria Della Concezione is very similar. These were commissioned after the Cerasi and Contarelli chapel paintings as Caravaggio’s use of poor, ordinary people fit with the Franciscan order’s notions of poverty and humility.

The Narcissus is an earlier work, which has been interpreted as the image is more powerful and more captivating than reality.

Another early work is Judith Beheading Holofernes, which shows elements seen later in Caravaggio: violence, tenebroso,  aged characters:

One thought on “Day 3 in Rome: photography now permitted 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s